At the present stage, child labour has become one of the very serious problems in the civilized society. Presently it is not the concern of the individual Country but it has become a global phenomenon.
The following are the objectives of this study:-
To study the concept, various factors leading to child labour and its historical background.
To analyze various international instruments specifically dealing with child labour.
To examine the legislative provisions enacted for the elimination of child labour.
To evaluate the role of judiciary to abolish child labour.
To highlight the prevailing socio-economic conditions of child labourers in the State of Punjab.
To assess the extent of child labour in State of Punjab.
To give various suggestions for combating the problem of child labour in India.
3. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
For the purpose of present research work the study is centered on the following hypothesis:-
Child labour is in prevalence in India since time immemorial.
Lack of coordination between various agencies working under Union and State Government and inadequate policies in the matter of child labour lead to increase the problem of child labour.
Various international instruments and legislative provisions dealing with child labour are not effective to eradicate child labour due to lack of effective implementation policies.
Lack of effective coordination exists among citizens and Government of India to eradicate child labour.
Lack of political will and determination to control the increasing child labour.
Lack of uniform application of legislations by the State Governments increases the incidence of child labour.
Although, Punjab is an affluent State, yet child labour is quite prevalent in unorganized sectors in Punjab.
No doubt poverty is the root cause of child labour in State of Punjab but parental attitude, unemployment of adults, migration are also the factors responsible for the existence of child labour.
4. RESEARCH METHDOLOGY
The present study is a highly sensitive one and aims at describing the child labour in India with special reference to State of Punjab. Lot of problems appeared while choosing a suitable research methodology to undertaken this study.
The study is theoretical as well as empirical in nature. Efforts has been made to gather first hand information from the agencies working on eradication of child labour. Descriptive and explanatory type of research has been used to understand the problem of child labour, it is descriptive because it helps in understanding the nature of problem of child labour and it is explanatory as it provide various reasons behind the child labour. An inter-disciplinary approach to examine the problem of child labour has been adopted. Further, the study covers up the content analysis of publications, law reporters, research articles in both journals as well as in e-journals, legislative assembly debates, reference books, law commission reports, etc. The study will be based on primary as well as on secondary information. Different sets of questionnaire and interview methods has been used for different categories of persons to collect data and arriving at appropriate findings and suggestions.
5. SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The whole research work of the study has been carried out through seven chapters.
Chapter-2: Concept and Historical Background of Child Labour
Chapter-3: International Perspective of Child Labour
Chapter-4: Child Labour Under the Constitution and Various Legislations
Chapter-5: Role of Judiciary in Preventing the Child Labour
Chapter-6: Study of Child Labour in the State of Punjab
Chapter-7: Conclusion and Suggestions
Chapter one deals with preliminary aspects, it explain in detail about the definitions and causes of child labour. It also describes the socio-cultural and economic background of child labour. The age of the child has been defined differently in different laws. No doubt poverty is responsible for child labour but the lack of educational facilities encourage child labour in rural areas. The children of India are affected by the problem of child labour to the large extent. It is the responsibility of the State to eliminate child labour as per the Constitution and various legislations of India. The Government of Punjab has taken various steps to fight with this serious problem. Initial chapter also shows that an exhaustive review of existing literature has also been undertaken. Objective of the study has been identified and hypothesis and research methodology has also been explained.
Chapter-2: Concept and Historical Background of Child Labour
It explains the issue of child labour which is directly related to the issues of childhood, the perceptions that the community holds with respect to the children and their role in the family and community life. The precise age of what constitute child labour has not been laid down anywhere because of variations in the age of a child as given under the Constitution of India, legislations and international Conventions: “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be allowed to work in a factory, a mine or in any hazardous employment.” “Provision of free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such a manner as the State may by law determine.” The State shall endeavour to provide, “Within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.” “Duty of every citizen who is parent, guardian to provide opportunities for education to the child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years.” According to the Employment of Children Act, 1938, “Child has been defined as a person below fourteen years of age.” In the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, “Child is to be a person who has not completed his fourteen years of age.” Under the Factories Act, 1948, “A child is defined as a person below fifteen years of age.” As per the Plantations Labour Act, 1951, “A child is held to be a person who has not completed his fourteen years of age.” Under the Mines Act, 1952, “A person below fifteen years of age is prohibited from working in mines.” As per the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961,”Child below the age of fifteen years is prohibited in the employment.” Under the Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966,”A child is held to be a person who has not completed his fourteenth year.” According to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, “A child is defined as a person below fourteen years of age.” As per the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, “Child means a male or female child of the age of six to fourteen years.” As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, “Child below the age of fourteen years is prohibited in any type of employment.” The United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child 1989, Article 1, defines, “Child as every human being who is below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” Article 3 of the Maritime Labour Convention (ILO), 2006, defines, “Child as every human being who is below the age of sixteen years.” The Work in Fishing Convention (ILO), 2007, Article 1, defines, “Child as a person below fifteen years of age.”
Illiteracy, poverty, unemployed parents etc. are the most important factors contributing to the fast growth of child labour. According to International Labour Organization (2016), the vast majority of child labour is involved in hazardous occupations such as agriculture, construction, bonded child labour, domestic work etc. Researcher has made an attempt to trace the origin and evolution of the problem of child labour in different periods. Child labour in ancient India was existed in the form of child slaves. Child labour in medieval India was quite rampant and rulers encouraged it with an intention to make traffic in child slaves. In India, it is mainly associated with the industrialization, from the British rule. Due to enforcement of statutory provisions, unionization of workers and modernization of machinery, employment of children has gradually declined in the organized sector, but it persists in varying degrees in the unorganized sectors such as agriculture, small plantations, hotels and restaurants, small urban undertakings etc.
down a basic minimum age which should not be less than the age for completion of compulsory schooling and in any case not less than fifteen